Waltharius and Carolingian morality: satire and lay values
Early Medieval Europe, Volume 21, Issue 1, pages 50–70, February 2013
Some recent interpretations of the early medieval Latin poem Waltharius have seen it as offering a clerical critique of warrior culture. While the poem is difficult to date accurately, it seems more likely to belong to the ninth than the tenth century. When the poem is analysed in the context of contemporary Frankish works providing moral instruction to lay noblemen, its attitudes towards pride, wealth and warfare can be shown to lie within the mainstream of Carolingian reformers’ thought. The notoriously bloody ending to the poem is also best seen as emphasizing Walter’s successful heroism rather than undermining it.